Monday, May 28, 2007

President Bush and Memorial Day Stupidity

In an earlier post on my blog, I detailed my belief that the real way to support American soldiers would be to bring them home. I denounced the idea that we must "finish the job" in order to make their sacrifices worthwhile.

Unfortunately, this kind of thinking still saturates the country, as evidenced by president Bush's speech today at the Arlington National Cemetery.

In the midst of all the proper honoring of the men and women who have served our country now and in the past, Bush couldn't help but insert a political message. "Those who serve are not fatalists or cynics," he said. "They know that one day this war will end, as all wars do. Our duty is to make sure this war was worth the sacrifice."

No, Mr. Bush. Your duty, and the duty of the government that you are a part of, is to refrain from using war as an instrument of foreign policy except where it is absolutely necessary. Your duty is to make it so that the only causes that you will send the young men and women of this country to die for are ones that are inherently "worth the sacrifice."

And, Mr. Bush, your duty most certainly is not to start an invasion of a sovereign nation on false pretenses, only later changing your justification to this pursuit of freedom and democracy that so many of the people blindly rally behind you on. Your duty is to tell the full, unabridged truth when the lives of this nation's young people are on the line.

"This is our country's calling," Bush said. "It's our country's destiny."

Mr. Bush, never reduce the destiny of America, as defined by the founding fathers as well as every man, woman, and child who has ever lived here, to being a massive industrial-military machine that invades sovereign nations without international support, and pushes entire regions of the world into total chaos. Never reduce the 'great experiment' of freedom and democracy to being a monster that feeds on the spirit of the world - the very spirit that made it possible. Never reduce the land of the free and the home of the brave to being the land of the aggressor and the home of the fearful. That is not our destiny. That is not America.

Bush said that this nation's freedoms "came at a great cost and they will surive only so long as there are those who are willing to protect them." At last, Mr. Bush, you speak some truth. But you are not one who has been known to protect our freedoms, Mr. Bush. Your PATRIOT Act makes it possible for entire sections of the Bill of Rights to be tossed aside if investigators think it will help them. Of 814,073 people charged in immigration courts under your Department of Homeland Security in the past three years, only 12 faced terrorism charges, and only 114 were charged with national security violations. That means that only one and a half hundredths of a percent of those 'dangerous' people being processed through the sketchy methods of the DHS are actually a concern at all.

I am ashamed of our country if we accept and embrace Bush's mantra. America has always been dedicated to freedom and democracy, and everyone agrees that the men and women who have died serving our nation throughout its history are noble. But now Bush, quite possibly the biggest internal threat to freedom, democracy, and our men and women in uniform in the history of America, is able to use his 'support' of those things to make himself and his war look good. What has America come to, if he can do that?

Perhaps there is still a small glimmer of hope for our country in this debacle: As Bush's motorcade passed over the Potomac River, it went by a lone man holding a sign that said "Bring our troops home." Amen. Amen.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Trouble With Politics

The trouble with politics is that it’s full of politicians.

You see, the official job description of a member of the United States Congress is to represent the voters of their district. In a perfect world, every person in the country would be able to vote for all the things that come before Congress, and Congress would be unnecessary. This is, however, unfortunately not a perfect world. So instead, we elect representatives to go represent us and do our voting for us in Washington.

And yet they don’t represent us. Partisan politics has become so rigid and severe, and politicians have grown such a sense of entitlement that the opinions of their constituents really only matter to the extent that they desire to be re-elected. If a U.S. Representative believes that we need to stay in Iraq, by God, it doesn’t matter if every person in his district disagrees. He has to stick to his beliefs, man!

Bullshit. No matter how dead set against something any representative personally is, in all honesty it shouldn’t matter. If you are an elected representative of the people, your job is to vote the way the people would if they were present. Thomas Paine said so in Common Sense, which was the single most important rallying point in the events leading to the Revolution. That’s what the people wanted. That’s what the founding fathers wanted. That’s what this country is. It’s a representational democracy, and the job of those representatives is to represent their constituents.

Not only do our representatives fail to represent us, but partisan politics has hijacked the system to the extent that getting any real change done is next to impossible. How is it, pray tell, that partisan ‘whips,’ whose job is to make sure their colleagues vote along party lines, are an official United States federal government office? If that doesn’t convince you that the system is fundamentally flawed, I don’t know what would. George Washington, in his farewell address, warned the fledgling nation not to slip any farther into the bog of partisan politics that was already taking hold. The party system is silly, especially when it’s entirely dominated by just two parties. Washington knew that; he saw what was happening, and he warned against it. Did we listen? Obviously not.

If we want to come closer to the dream that is America, the dream set forth in the Constitution, one of the most important steps we can take is to put Congress in line. Reform the party system, either by abolishing political parties or by splitting the two dominant parties into several smaller ones. This way, ideas from all across the spectrum will be fully entertained, and maybe some change can occur. Also, the people need to start demanding that their representatives take the opinions of their constituents much deeper into consideration.

It’s supposed to be a government by the people, of the people, for the people, after all.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I officially love the ACT

I just got my ACT scores in the mail. The maximum score in any area is 36. Here are my scores:

Composite Score: 35 (99%ile)
English: 35 (99%ile)
Mathematics: 34 (99%ile)
Reading: 35 (99%ile)
Science: 35 (99%ile)

That just made my day. No, my week. No, my effing month!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Plato on Love

"Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet."


Plato, the great ancient Greek philosopher, in his Symposium, offered an explanation for love and the desire to be with another person.

He described the original race of men as having four legs, four arms, two faces - double of everything that we have today. He said there were three sexes: "the man was originally the child of the sun, the woman of the earth, and the man-woman of the moon, which is made up of sun and earth."

Mankind was powerful - so powerful that we rebelled against the gods. The gods knew a punishment was due. But they did not want to destroy us, for that would mean they would lose all the nice sacrifices and piety we had to offer. Zeus decided that the best punishment would be to split each and every one of us into two, so that we'd be "diminished in strength and increased in numbers" and thus more profitable to the gods.

Since then, we have all been searching for our other half. The original male "children of the sun" each became two homosexual men. The original female "children of the earth" each became two homosexual women. The original adrogynous "children of the moon" each became one man and one woman.

In embracing (and, more specifically, in making love) we are attempting to bring two halves together and thus be more complete and happy. If we find that one person who is our "other half," this is an especially amazing experience, and we find ourselves constantly desiring to be in each other's presence.

A couple (love) poems

Sometimes I wonder why I write poetry. It tends to be mediocre, at best, and there are other things I can write with far more skill. Still, I have my poetic side, and every now and then it asserts itself.

musings from afar

where are you, my love?
at this moment
are you awakening
from a restful nap,
or are you strolling down
a suburban street,
rejoicing in the soft breeze
and the sounds of the birds?
are your thoughts bent on me,
or does another
demand your attention?
do you wish,
as I do,
that I was beside you?


Like a candle,
the flame of our love
melts me into liquid wax.
My head goes first,
and all my rational thought
is stripped away,
replaced only by a desire
to be one with you.
Inch by inch,
the melting progresses;
my arms go,
and I become helpless
in your embrace;
my torso joins
the liquid progression,
and my heart is released
and flows down my body
to add to the pool
growing in your arms.
The rest of my body
follows suit,
and at last the flame is spent.
My outside cools
and hardens, now,
protecting the part
closest to you,
kept warm enough
by the contact with your skin
to remain liquefied.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


There's a song by Savage Garden called "Affirmation" that I really like. It's one of those songs that actually says something. It goes something like this:

I believe the sun should never set upon an argument
I believe we place our happiness in other people's hands
I believe that junk food tastes so good because it's bad for you
I believe your parents did the best job they knew how to do
I believe that beauty magazines promote low self-esteem
I believe I'm loved when I'm completely by myself alone

I believe in Karma what you give is what you get returned
I believe you can't appreciate real love until you've been burned
I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side
I believe you don't know what you've got until you say goodbye

I believe you can't control or choose your sexuality
I believe that trust is more important than monogamy
I believe your most attractive features are your heart and soul
I believe that family is worth more than money or gold
I believe the struggle for financial freedom is unfair
I believe the only ones who disagree are millionaires


I believe forgiveness is the key to your unhappiness
I believe that wedded bliss negates the need to be undressed
I believe that God does not endorse TV evangelists
I believe in love surviving death into eternity

(Chorus X2)
I agree with just about everything they say in that song. Just about. I have a problem with two lines there, though.

Firstly, "I believe forgiveness is the key to your unhappiness." Honestly, I'd say quite the opposite. Being able to forgive people is key to being happy. If you can't forgive people for the mistakes that they've made, then you'll constantly be bitter about them. That's no way to live your life.

Secondly, "I believe that trust is more important then monogamy." I certainly agree, taking the statement at face value. But it seems obvious, to me at least, that they're referring to the concept of "open relationships" (i.e. you're with someone and you have sex with them, but you're also allowed to have sex with other people "as long as no emotions are involved"). I guess for the most part all I can really say about "open relationships" is "to each his own," because I really don't understand how that's a workable relationship model at all. I guess I just believe that sex without emotional involvement is pointless, and something of a disgrace to your body.

But overall, it's a great song!